Sunday, October 19, 2014
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
If you like: upending customs * family bonds * changing the future
The Book of Life is the conclusion of the All Souls Trilogy. It takes place in the present, but continues to include elements of the past. The changes made in the past, and more attention being paid to Diana and Matthew’s family have forced their hand. They all must come together to protect their growing family and find out the truth. Vampire custom and witch society must be both challenged and embraced in order to for their future survival. Finding the root of traditions that have ruled all species for generations is crucial in determining the knowledge that could save all creatures in the future.
In The Book of Life, family plays a much stronger role. The definition of family is expanded. Firstly, it is biological. Family is also a social construct. Finally, creatures of your same type are also considered to be family. Protecting family is important to all characters, whether or not they agree with all definitions. Fighting together for the same cause creates a new sort of familial bond, and helps those who question the expansion of family to understand it more fully. Family can also be used as a weapon. It is much easier to predict what a family member will do than a stranger. Families are also steeped in traditions and expectations, which can force the hand of reluctant family members. This all leads to a prioritization of sorts. Which type of family is most important - the one you are born into or the one you choose? Incorporating the old and the new, the traditional and the contemporary, can create a stronger foundation for the future if carefully attended to.
A delicate mix of the past, present, and future come together in one moment in The Book of Life. Ancient lore combines with the advances of modern technology to provide answers to long pondered questions. Tradition can be used to mask the truth. Over time, people forget the origin of the tradition and no longer question what is behind it. Younger generations learn the traditions as the truth. Finding the deep origins of rituals provides the insight for Diana and Matthew to take the necessary actions and shape the future of all creatures. This idea of looking at the more traditional maker activities and embracing the need to mix the old and the new is very popular in modern society. People seek to connect with the past and not lose it in the modern day world. Nothing will yield better insight than fresh eyes and different points of view when trying to solve a problem. When we separate all the noise and assumptions and see the primary root of the past, we can find the simple truths at the core of life.
If you know the truth lies deep inside you, read The Book of Life.
Harkness, Deborah. The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.